shaken by a daylong nonspecific anger and dissociation

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rtfm

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shaken by a daylong nonspecific anger and dissociation
« on: February 05, 2015, 06:13:27 PM »
Hi everybody

I don't know if this is the right place to post this, but I'm trying to figure out how to think about something that happened yesterday.  Nothing particularly unusual and no obvious triggers, out of the blue yesterday morning I got hit with what one PTSD author calls "a bucket of anger" and it would. not. dissipate.  I was angry and hate filled at everything and nothing.  It stayed with me all day, which has never happened before.

It's been about 10 years since I felt the total overload of nonspecific anger, and even on my worst days it would last for an hour or two before burning out.  They were nightmare hours, but still, nothing like yesterday which was more a bed of hot coals rather than a blowtorch.

For the last decade, I've used CBT and mindfulness practice to be aware of my anger triggers and reframe them and most of the time I can take a few breaths and regain my footing.  I feel like I cope with the world more or less the same as "normal" people now - maybe not great, but not extreme or unexpected or out of proportion either anymore.  Yesterday was all of those.  Yesterday I became my dad, even while my intellect looked on and said "there is no reason for this, look for a trigger, reframe it, breathe" nothing worked, and I resorted to just staying away from people.

To be honest, today I feel disoriented. I was a legitimately different person yesterday, and once it wore off 8 or 9 hours later all I wanted to do was sleep.  Today I'm tired, disoriented, can't focus, and frankly terrified. Yesterday, there was no reframe. There was no get past. Whatever was angry wasn't listening to whatever helps mitigate and integrate the anger, like it had never heard of this before and was having none of it.

I've lived with what I guess are dissociative episodes my whole life. This was one clearly, but it was so different than anything I've experienced before. I'm terrified that I couldn't cope with it, couldn't deal with whatever was happening.  That I lost control of my own mind. 

I told my partner that I feel like I just got the news that some terminal disease just resurfaced after a decade in remission.

Has anyone else gone through this?  Am I just tired, stressed and over-sensitive because I'm embarrassed at how I acted yesterday?  Is it normal to have something new like this crop up in your late 30s/early 40s?

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Kizzie

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Re: shaken by a daylong nonspecific anger and dissociation
« Reply #1 on: February 05, 2015, 07:17:54 PM »
Oh dear rtfm, I can only imagine how off balance you must feel  :hug:   It's not as bad when you can put your finger on the trigger, but when you can't quite figure out what set off one off it takes on a really scary aspect - wondering if this will rocket out of the sky seemingly for no reason again.

A couple of thoughts I had when I read your post for what they're worth.  It may be that there wasn't an external trigger, that it was internal - something that welled up for whatever reason (the time is right and you can handle more of the trauma; you are tired or not feeling well and it seeped in).

Another thing I thought of when I read about your experience was Walker's book where he talks about EFs as messages from the self, as you (your IC perhaps) telling you something needs caring for/dealing with.  So perhaps the question to ask might be "What am I trying to tell myself?"  It sounds like you've really been working at reframing triggers and perhaps you haven't given yourself permission to be angry (enough) about the past?  You also said you "became your Dad" and I wondered if there were any clue in that?

I do think you will find there's something at the bottom of what seems like nonspecific anger, even if there wasn't a specific external trigger and it is a welling up of feelings from the past that need to be felt, processed and released.   I hope you feel better as the day and week goes on :hug: 

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rtfm

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Re: shaken by a daylong nonspecific anger and dissociation
« Reply #2 on: February 05, 2015, 10:10:59 PM »
Thank you Kizzie. I really appreciate that feedback.  All of the things you wrote are helpful, and to have the validation that it's ok to be wrong-footed by the experience...thank you.  :hug:

I am sure there's something at the bottom of this.  It's interesting that you mention that, because even though I don't quite know what it is, I'm afraid of what is at the bottom of this.  As you say, maybe it's my mind being ready to peel another layer of the onion.  Truthfully I'd be content if it didn't, but I guess that's the healing process, eh?

The first 16 years of my life were defined by hypervigilance around my uNDad, and being blamed for his moods by my oh so charming uNMom.  Until my mid-20s I thought that's how you behaved when you were unhappy (and I thought it was normal to get unhappy/angry over random stuff) so I had massive fleas I've worked very hard to squash.  Being angry about stuff that makes me angry - yeah, that's a little hard for me.  Being angry for no obvious reason, just walking to work?  That's terrifying.

Interestingly, I had a big breakthrough this weekend about some issues I've had with clients that has really impacted my whole career.  It's tied to my dad's behaviors.  I don't feel angry about this, not that I can tell, I was actually fairly pleased (if somewhat embarrassed) that I was able to identify something that has eluded me for a very long time, and approach my business partner about a constructive solution. 

Maybe that's sinking in and I just didn't realise it...I'm definitely having an uptick in random symptoms since that realization and I did not put two and two together.  Heart racing, panic attacks with no known trigger, trouble sleeping, trouble concentrating, and then the anger yesterday....  Ech. 

Thank you, this really helps me see a broader context and be a little less afraid.  Lots to think about.   :hug:

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Kizzie

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Re: shaken by a daylong nonspecific anger and dissociation
« Reply #3 on: February 05, 2015, 10:27:02 PM »
I am sure there's something at the bottom of this.  It's interesting that you mention that, because even though I don't quite know what it is, I'm afraid of what is at the bottom of this.  As you say, maybe it's my mind being ready to peel another layer of the onion.  Truthfully I'd be content if it didn't, but I guess that's the healing process, eh?

Indeed lol, I am currently in coast mode and quite happy to be there, but there is this niggling, nagging feeling of fear which I suppose signals the next layer is ready to be peeled away - ack.  That's recovery as you say though so onward and upward, EFs be dammed!

Glad to hear you are figuring out what may have triggered your EF - not nearly as scary then :hug: 

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marycontrary

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Re: shaken by a daylong nonspecific anger and dissociation
« Reply #4 on: February 06, 2015, 02:22:58 PM »
Oh, RTFM, I so relate. SOOOOOO much. It takes a long time, but I have managed to make my finally go away.

I would get exhausted too. I often wondered if this was seizure activity in my limbic system, as I was messed up for days afterward.

This is how I stopped this anger and anxiety attack. I listened to Dharma talks. (I am not religious). I would listed to one right after the other until the emotion dissipated and I feel asleep. It works and its FREE. For me, these attacks I believe damaged my memory centers and would trigger psychosis, so it was very important to stop these before permanent biological damage was done.

Let me know if you would like some  links...
 :bighug:

Re: shaken by a daylong nonspecific anger and dissociation
« Reply #5 on: February 06, 2015, 09:25:56 PM »
Hi rtfm. Glad to hear you're already feeling a tiny bit better about that whole thing. It sounds very confusing. I had some experiences that were similar, just not with anger, more with a groundless (or so I thought) feeling of terror and paralyzing sadness. VERY confusing and unsettling. It always left me shaken and ever so worried - what was happening, where did that come from, would it happen again, that kind of thing.

And I second what Kizzie said - those volcanic eruptions can be set off by the tiniest things. When you wrote your second post, about how you realized later what might have triggered your flashback, I had a deja-vu experience. I've had that happen to me a few times - when you have a flashback and your first thought is: "but WHY? Everything's been going fine!" - and it's only later that you remember: "Oh right, THAT" - and it turns out that there WAS something painful going on, only you're so used to trauma that it didn't fully register. A bit depressing, that. Hm, or we could pretend it makes us very cool? The only trauma we recognize is BIG trauma. About everything else, we're all "oh, it's just a scratch".

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rtfm

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Re: shaken by a daylong nonspecific anger and dissociation
« Reply #6 on: February 09, 2015, 02:20:57 AM »
Hi all, just wanted to come back a few days after and thank you for the thoughts.  It's been an awful roller coaster this week - all the feels.  Wednesday was ANGER (so scary I posted here).  Thursday was confusion/numbing out/grief and lots of sadness and processing later on.  Friday was happy (I never feel happy. I was so happy that it was scary too).  And today I got a photo of FOO from a family friend that I was hoping not to have to cut out of my life, but it seems that family friend can't/won't respect my boundaries around NC with the FOO.  But dear god after all of this this week, having not heard a peep in months?  Awful awful awful to get an unsolicited photo.  Which led to - surprise! - more anger.

I guess the feelings are healthy, at least?  Or at least, I guess there are feelings, which is different.  I haven't felt my feelings louder than a whisper for quite a long time.  I've been working not to squash them but truthfully, like that peeling onion thing - it's quieter and somewhat more functional without them, so it's a little alarming to have them suddenly shouting out of nowhere. Anyway, just ranting here. 

Kizzie, it's comforting to know that you feel that way about the layers of the onion. Thanks for your comments and support!  :hug:

Marycontrary, it's interesting that you mention Dharma talks. I do find a lot of peacefulness in listening to them.  I haven't in a awhile, thank you for the reminder.  If you have any in particular you find helpful I would appreciate links, thank you.

Schrodinger's Cat - hah! Maybe you're right...it's so normal to have something happen that it's a shock when this particular something actually touches a big nerve and sets off a full blown flashback.  I like the idea of pretending it makes us super cool.  It's only a flesh wound!


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Anamiame

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Re: shaken by a daylong nonspecific anger and dissociation
« Reply #7 on: February 09, 2015, 04:35:25 AM »
I totally get this.  It happened to me this week.  I needed to be reminded about the layers of the onion.  I've been telling myself today that all the work I did before was still valid, this is just a new layer.  It does help. 

I had the angry thing early last week.  It was like a teenager's angry rebellion to someone holding them back and the teen using their arms to forcefully free themselves from whoever/whatever was trying to take hold.  That's so out of the ordinary for me and I think my counselor was taken aback by it. 

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marycontrary

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Re: shaken by a daylong nonspecific anger and dissociation
« Reply #8 on: February 09, 2015, 12:17:38 PM »
Here you go!

https://www.youtube.com/user/BuddhistSocietyWA

http://dharmapunxnyc.podbean.com/

There are some really good titles here...enjoy!

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Kizzie

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Re: shaken by a daylong nonspecific anger and dissociation
« Reply #9 on: February 09, 2015, 08:42:22 PM »
Isn't it strange when you feel this full on feeling of happy rtfm lol?!  It's almost overwhelming, like "WTH?" 

I have been happy before but there was always this underlying current of "Don't be too happy, the other shoe is about to drop" - a guarded happy I guess you'd call it.  Lately though I've been getting this giddy happy now and again and it's a bit of a rush   I like it but it makes me nervous which I think will dissipate as I get used to it.

Another day, week, month - another layer :hug: